SPF Moisturiser Not Enough To Prevent Sun Damage, Experts Say

Since taking a stroll with a parasol is no longer a fashionable past time, many of us have opted for SPF loaded moisturiser to save our skin from looking like a vintage handbag.

While we may have heralded the sun protectant as it crept its way into our skincare routine, it turns out slathering your face with a bottle of the stuff might not cover it. ​

A new report from the British Association of Dermatologists has revealed that those who use moisturisers with SPF, rather than sunscreen, may not be adequately protecting their skin from damaging UV rays. This is because the ingredients in your moisturiser can dilute the ability of SPF to do its job properly and moisturisers with SPF are rarely broad-spectrum. Also, because we tend to spread our moisturiser more thinly than we would slop on our sunscreen, we limit the SPF’s effectiveness to combat the sun’s sizzle.   

While sacrificing a little extra sun exposure over slathering a white cast of sticky, greasy sunscreen across your T-zone seems a small trade, feast your eye on the images below. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. 

Provided by expert dermatologists, the images highlight the difference in protection from your standard suncream application versus your SPF inclusive moisturiser. Essentially, the darker the substance appears through a camera that only sees UV light, the better it’s blocking out rays. Turns out a tan isn’t such a hot idea after all.

Austin McCormick, consultant ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon, and one of the researchers said: “Although skin moisturiser with SPF does provide sun protection, our research suggests that it’s not to the same degree as sunscreen. Moisturiser is better than no protection at all, but not as good as sunscreen.

“We do recommend moisturisers and makeup that contain UV protection – it is better than no protection at all, but for prolonged periods in the sun we recommend the application of sunscreen with high SPF.”

Likewise, Matthew Gass of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “Although it may say factor 30 on the box, this study is just further evidence that lab testing conditions for these products don’t reflect how they are used.”  

That said, some protection is better than no protection, so opting for makeup and skincare with SPF is still a worthwhile investment, especially since 80 percent of skin ageing is said to be from cumulative sun exposure.

But remember: sunscreen never means you’re 100% protected, so seek shade, don your shades and wear a hat. In other words, if you’re reserving basting oil and direct heat for your Sunday roast and not your skin, you’re on the right track.

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